Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, December 30, 1926 Christmas Eve was the occasion of a shooting in Whitesburg between police officers and two men they sought to arrest. The officers are Letcher County Deputy Sheriff J.D. Blair, U.S. Prohibition Officer Clark Day, and Whitesburg Police Officer Fred Chancy. The suspects are Crit Morgan and Willard Combs. The officers met Morgan and Combs at the bridge near the depot and told them to halt and consider themselves under arrest. “About this time, shooting became general,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “Who fired the first shot we do not know, but after the fusillade of shots it was found that Morgan was shot in the head behind the ear and at first was reported killed. Combs was shot in the arm, and Blair was grazed by a bullet.” The others were not injured. Morgan rallied and is now at the home of Dr. J.M. Bentley, where he is being treated. His condition is listed critical. Why the shooting occurred remains unknown. “The entire matter will be aired out in the courts,” The Eagle says.

. Thieves “ran wild” in Whitesburg Sunday night, breaking into three stores on Main Street. Burglarized were the Fitzpatrick Drug Company, Fairchild & Parman Grocery, and J.A. Webb’s store. Taken from the drugstore were $75 in cash and $40 in merchandise. Fairchild & Parman lost $3 in cash and $50 worth of goods, and Webb lost $100 worth of merchandise. The thieves gained entry into the stores after stealing a large wrecking bar from the Whitesburg Plumbing Company and forcing doors and windows open.

. The recent high tides in the North Fork of the Kentucky River wrought havoc with the operations of Champion Coal Inc.’s operations on Kingscreek. Property losses totaled some $10,000 in addition to the greatest loss — the railroad tracks. It is said this company would have been ready to ship its product — the famous ‘cannel’ coal — within a few days, but the high waters demolished the tracks, bridges, and trestles.

. The entire neighborhood of Mille Creek near Deane is heartbroken of the loss of little daughter of Milt Meade, who drowned late Tuesday afternoon while returning to her home from the Mill Creek School. The accident happened while the girl was crossing a foot log and lost her balance and fell into the raging waters. Rescuers searched until darkness, but the body could not be found until the next morning at the John Bentley Water Gap.

. Judge Bentley ordered murder suspect Brent Breeding held over to the grand jury under a $1,000 bond in the shooting death of Elijah Worrix.

. Letcher County taxpayers are reminded that penalty and interest is added to all unpaid taxes after December 31.

. The Elsiecoal [known today as Hotspot or Premium] Post Office was broken into and burglarized last night. Stolen were money, stamps, and supplies, the value of which has yet to be determined.

Little Colly School teachers are being praised for “safely seeing our pupils” across Little Colly Creek . “Our creek was way out of bounds this week due to heavy rains,” the Little Colly correspondent wrote in The Mountain Eagle.

. Whitesburg businessman Lewis E. Harvey has returned from his old home in Danville, Virginia, where he spent Christmas. [Harvey and Sam Collins developed what is now the Upper Bottom neighborhood in Whitesburg.]

. A beautiful play, “Christmas Carol,” was given at the Whitesburg school auditorium during Christmas week by the children.

Thursday, January 2, 1947 Letcher County’s holiday season has been a quiet one with not a single serious disturbance having been reported. Everyone seemed to have plenty of good things during the yuletide season, and the spirit of happiness and contentment seemed to prevail. Many people are looking to 1947 as one of the best building years in the history of the county.

Freddy Terry, well-known trapper from Oven Fork, is a winner of the “Daily Award” for correct pelt handling in the Eighteenth National Fur Show conducted by the Raw Fur Marketing Service of Sears Roebuck and Company. Terry’s careful handling of a mink pelt brought him one of the $5.00 Daily awards on December 13. The award entitles Terry to consideration for one of the major awards, including the $1,000 First Award, to be awarded at final judging in April.

. The heaviest snow of the season fell on New Year’s Eve, which seems to blend in with the holiday spirit. The snow in some places was eight to 10 inches, making just the second snow of the winter unusually mild.

. G. Turner Howard, 68, coal company executive, was killed December 31 when his car left the road near Campton, overturned several times and dropped about 30 feet. Howard’s car apparently skidded on wet pavement, as he was en route from his home in Lexington to Hazard. A native of Harlan, he had been president of Kentucky River Coal Corporation since 1939.

. Members of the Jesse Holbrook family of Letcher County were saddened to learn this week of the painful injuries they suffered when they had the misfortune of being in a car accident between Lexington and Campton. While driving home from Lexington, their car hit a wet place in the road that apparently had frozen. Mr. and Mrs. Holbrook were seriously injured in the mishap and are being treated at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington. Other family members escaped serious injury.

. Mr. S.J. Bates has told The Mountain Eagle that he recently purchased the interests of Luther and Gardner Bates in the Star-Elkhorn Coal Company and is now the major stockholder in the concern. The company is said to be loading some 28 “gons” of coal daily.

. Newspaper editors voting in the Publishers’ Auxiliary poll on top news stories of 1946 have selected as their top pick the Republican Party’s sweep into power in state and congressional elections.

Thursday, December 29, 1966 The 6.6-mile section of new Ky 15 between Whitesburg and Isom is now open to traffic, the Kentucky Department of Highways said this week. The road, built with funds from the Appalachian Recovery Act., was the first “quick-start” project inaugurated after the act was passed.

. Specialist 4th Class Josh D. Wampler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wampler of Mayking has arrived in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade. The 9th Division, stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, was formed a year ago from veteran cadre personnel and soldiers considered to be among the best ever trained in the U.S. Army.

. Technical Sergeant Sandy Adams Jr., son of Mrs. Sarah J. Adams of New Pine Mountain Junction, Whitesburg, is on duty at Da Nang Air Force Base in Vietnam. Sergeant Adams, a weapons control technician, has been in Vietnam since February of this year. He is a graduate of Whitesburg High School. His wife, Patricia, is the daughter of Edward Martin of 209 College Drive, Whitesburg.

. Airman First Class Frank D. McPeek has received $1,000 for two suggestions for military improvements estimated to save the Air Force $100,000 annually.

. Ruben Watts, of Roxana, has been named chairman of the 1967 March of Dimes in Letcher County. The drive benefits more than a quarter of a million children in the United State who are born with birth defects.

. A heavy Christmas Eve snow kept many would-be visitors in their homes both here and away, writes Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser. “Many of our children did not start the trip home, and many others were caught midway between our homes and theirs,” writes Mrs. Kiser. “I am sure the telephone operators were very tired, but very patient, with frantic calls to and from children and parents.”

Thursday, December 30, 1976 Blue Diamond Coal Co. has filed a motion in the U.S. Federal District Court in Knoxville, Tenn., requesting transfer to the federal district court at Pikeville of the $600 million damage suit brought against the firm by the widows of 15 Scotia miners who died in a gas explosion

last March.

. Construction of the Whitesburg bypass to Kentucky Highway 15 will not begin before the fall of 1981, state and federal highway officials say. Construction was supposed to begin in 1975, then it was delayed until 1976. Late last year city officials were told the date had been moved up again — to 1978. The bypass is part of the highway system of the Appalachian Regional Commission but there are no federal funds presently available for construction of the project, according to officials.

. George Dewey Polly, 78, president of the Coca Cola Bottling Works in Whitesburg and Hazard, died Sunday near his home in Naples, Fla., where he had lived since 1952. A native of Whitesburg, Polly had been active in both business and politics here before moving to Naples. He served on the city council during the 1940s and owned the waterworks which he sold to the city.

. Hen turkeys are 59 cents a pound at the A&P food store. Whole hams are $1.18 a pound.

Wednesday, December 31, 1986 A furniture company has announced its intent to relocate its manufacturing plant here. The announcement is the result of an exhibit the City of Whitesburg displayed earlier this month at the Kentucky Community Development Exposition ’86 in Louisville. The name of the company is still being withheld, but company officials have notified Mayor James Asher, Letcher County Judge/ Executive Ruben Watts and others that they will be relocating in Whitesburg pending final arrangements.

. Two coal operations from Letcher and Harlan counties, Reading and Bates and Arch of Kentucky, will supply up to 700,000 tons of spot coal to a Florida utility in 1987. The utility is Electric Fuels Corp., which buys coal for Florida Electric’s Crystal River Power Station.

. Seeing a crowd of people on the roadside, Deputy Sheriff Rick Anderson expected to find a terrible accident. Instead, he saw a bear — three feet high at the shoulder, covered with black fur, and strutting up and down in front of a dozen spectators. The bear had apparently been entertaining local residents for about 20 minutes when Anderson arrived near the site of the old drive-in theater at Potters Fork.

Monday, January 1, 1996 For the first time ever, the Whitesburg City Council is evenly divided between women and men. The council members include Debbie Benge, Peggy Hidvegi, Claude Little, Lois A. Baker, Bobby Adams and James Bates. Jack Howard’s term as Mayor of Whitesburg does not expire for two more years.

. The full amount of damage from a fire which erupted in a utility room at the offices of the Letcher County Board of Education December 23 has not been determined, Acting Superintendent Mike King said.

. Philmore Bowen of Whitesburg has received an award for 30 years of service from the National Weather Service, which has used his volunteer weather observations in Whitesburg since 1966.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 Voters in the City of Whitesburg may soon have the chance to determine whether patrons of certain restaurants can have beer or wine with their food. Supporters of an effort to allow “limited” alcohol sales are circulating a petition that could soon lead to Whitesburg residents being able to vote for the first time in 60 years on the question of whether alcohol should be sold legally inside city limits.

. State Senator Johnny Ray Turner was elected to the job of Senate minority caucus chairman despite pleading guilty last month to a misdemeanor vote-buying charge.

. The Letcher County Central Lady Cougars won the Queen City Classic at Somerset two weeks ago, and finished third in the 16-team Snowball Classic in Frankfort. The team has now won nine of its last 10 games for a record of 9-3.

. Baylus Caudill was the winner of a $300 Walmart gift card at the annual Community Park Christmas Party at Eolia, writes Eolia correspondent Brenda Gross.



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